Budget friendly projects with a big ROI

Not all home improvement projects are created equal. Some renovations
may cost a lot but not add significant value to your home. This list
goes in the opposite direction: Here are some inexpensive home
improvement projects that will not only increase your enjoyment of your
home, but will also increase the home's value.

  1. High quality ceiling fans: In a recent National
    Association of Home Builders survey, ceiling fans ranked No. 1 as the
    most-wanted decorative item. If your ceiling fans are outdated, replace
    them with something in the $400 range-it'll make a big difference when
    it's time to sell.

  2. Trees: Mature trees can be worth as much as $10,000
    toward the value of your home. Trees also protect your home from the
    elements and prevent erosion.

  3. Energy efficiency: Buyers are increasingly
    interested in saving energy, so any efficiency update is worthwhile.
    Switching from a wood to gas fireplace is a great start.

  4. Outdoor lighting: Exterior lighting is great for
    highlighting the accents of your home, and you can typically expect a 50
    percent return on investment.

  5. Molding: You can finish a room with crown molding
    or railing for as little as $1.50 per foot if you take a DIY approach,
    and it's extremely desirable among prospective buyers.